Students and staff united by Bengals playoff run

Senior Drew Vaughan and MHS Film Making teacher Allen Young reminisce over the Bengals 2023 playoff run.

Ellie Saylor | The Chronicle

“Who-Dey” took on a new meaning for Bengals fans during their playoff run.

Throughout the Bengal’s regular season and playoff run some students and staff members took to celebrating the team’s triumphs. However, after the AFC championship loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, a 2023 Super Bowl win was not in the future for the Bengals team.

Students and staff alike had high hopes for another Bengals trip to the Super Bowl. The conversation surrounding the big game and the season dominated lunchroom conversations. Senior Drew Vaughan said he felt that the Bengal nation was proudly represented throughout the school, creating an exciting environment.

“I think a lot of people just get excited about the team,” Vaughan said. “It was great to see the camaraderie of the school because everyone was talking about [the Bengal’s season] together.”

Vaughan said that seeing other people wearing Bengals shirts and jerseys created a sense of unification and common ground for students and staff. 

“I think when people see each other’s jerseys they’re like, ‘Sweet!’ [merchandise] is such a big icebreaker because you know who you can talk to,” Vaughan said. 

The AFC game came down to a field goal made by the Kansas City Chiefs in the final seconds of the game securing the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory by only three points. Vaughan said that the game was most impactful not only for the school but for Cincinnati. 

“You watch that final play and it’s disappointing,” Vaughan said. “The whole city was very together about the Bengals, and when that play happened, and the game ended it was just like ‘that was it?’” 

Sophomore Zak Bassini had some doubts about whether or not the Bengals’ offensive line could protect star quarterback Joe Burrow, but as the season progressed Bassini was confident that his Bengals could get back to the Super Bowl. 

“When the season started I was a little bit doubtful because I didn’t know how well their team was going to perform,” Bassini continued. “But as the season went on I started to gain a little bit more confidence.”

Unfortunately, Bassini’s confidence in the team was not enough to help the Bengals win. Bassini said that watching the game was extremely hard to watch as a Bengals fan. 

“I kind of felt like I was going to have a heart attack,” Bassini said. “I was really nervous during the game because those games are nail-biters. They just go down to the wire.” 

The loss of the AFC championship halted the discussions and excitement that fans had prior to their loss. Bassini said that coming back on that Monday was hard on the entire school. 

“[On] Friday, the last day of school before the game, everybody kept talking about it,” Bassini said. “Then on Monday the vibe was dead and nobody was talking about [the game] anymore.”

Like Bassini, Sophomore Kayla Thammart often thought about how the game could have been played differently. Thammart said that certain parts of the game repeated in her head. 

“It was rough. I just kept replaying that last two minutes in my head. I was just speechless,” Thammart said. 

The effect of the Bengals’ season went further than the student body, as educators and MHS staff members also enjoyed, and grieved the football season. MHS film-making teacher Allen Young, a self-proclaimed Bengals fan, was excited to see students and faculty supporting the team. 

“I [wore] Bengals gear every day since the playoffs,” Young said. “So everybody participating was nice to see.”

Being a die-hard fan, the AFC game had a strong impact on Young. He said that watching the game was tough, but he remains optimistic about the future of the team. 

“I just laid in bed [that night] and I [thought], ‘So close, so close’,” Young said. “I really can’t complain as a fan because they had such a nice long run that led to a great season, probably the best season that the Bengals have ever had. It’s so exciting moving forward. This is probably the best time in my life to be a Bengals fan.”

Photo by Ellie Saylor